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Delhi HC in the case of The Assistant Director, Directorate of Enforcement Versus Omar Ali Obaid Balsharaf.

Introduction:

Prevention of Money Laundering—Power of High Court to condone the delay in filing an appeal—the High Court has no power to condone the delay beyond 120 days.—The Assistant Director, DoE, New Delhi v. Omar Ali Obaid Balsharaf: 2020 (2) LRC 651(Del)

Case Covered:

The Assistant Director, Directorate of Enforcement

Versus

Omar Ali Obaid Balsharaf

Facts of the Case:

Brief facts of the present case are that Ministry of Defence submitted a written complaint dated 12.02.2013 to the Central Bureau of Investigation (hereinafter referred to as “CBI”), New Delhi, with a request to register a case and investigate alleged illegal dealings of M/s Finmeccanica, Italy in the matter of procurement of 12 VVIPs helicopters from M/s Agusta Westland International Ltd. Accordingly, CBI, New Delhi, registered an FIR vide RC217/2013/A0003 dated 12.03.2013 against Mr Carlo Gerosa, Mr Guido Ralph Haschke, Mr Gautam Khaitan and other persons/companies for the commission of offences punishable under Section 120-B read with Section 420 IPC and Sections 7, 8, 9, 12, 13(2) read with Section 13(l)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Subsequently, Directorate of Enforcement on 03.07.2014 recorded an ECIR No. DLZO/15/2014 against said accused persons/companies. As per the investigation, to get contract dated 08.02.2010 for the supply of 12 VVIP helicopters for Euro 556.262 million, kickbacks of Euro 70 million was paid by M/s Agusta Westland. Out of the aforementioned amount, Euro 24.37 million was paid to M/s IDS Information Technology and Engineering Sari, Tunisia by M/s Agusta Westland, out of which Euro 12.4 million was transferred to M / s Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius.

Observations:

In view of above, vide order dated 10.09.2018, learned Adjudicating Authority allowed Original Application No. 194 of 2018 finding that there were reasons to believe that respondent No. 1 had apparently committed an offence of money laundering under Section 3 of PMLA and that they were in possession of proceeds of crime. Therefore, retention of the documents/articles seized during search dated 22.03.2018 as well as freezing order restraining debit transactions in DMAT Account No. 1201910103642803 and DMAT Account No. 1201910103642797 was allowed during pendency of proceedings relating to any offence under the PMLA.

Decision:

Fact remains that order of the Appellate Tribunal was pronounced on 29.08.2019, however, as argued by learned counsel for applicant, the same was received on 11.09.2019 whereas the captioned appeal is filed on 22.01.2020. As per Section 42 of PMLA, 2002 as mentioned above, the maximum limit to condone delay is (60 days + 60 days) 120 days whereas, captioned appeal is filed beyond the period of limitation. Thus, as per the dictum of the Supreme Court in catena of judgments and some of them discussed above, this Court has no power to condone the delay beyond 120 days. Thus, the present application is dismissed.

It is pertinent to mention here that the alternative prayer of the applicant in CRL.M.A.3338/2020 is to withdraw the appeal with liberty to file the purported appeal which was filed on 24.12.2019 vide diary No. 1621374/2019. However, said appeal is not before this Court. In view of above facts, the lacunae cannot be allowed to be filled-up, therefore, I hereby reject the prayer made by the applicant in CRL.M.A.3338/2020 and same is accordingly dismissed.

The captioned appeal is consequently rejected.

Pending applications stand disposed of.

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Delhi HC in the case of The Assistant Director, Directorate of Enforcement Versus Omar Ali Obaid Balsharaf.

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